Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Counselor Education and Supervision

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Rita Sommers-Flanagan

Commitee Members

Lindsey Nichols, Sidney Shaw, John Sommers-Flanagan, Christina Yoshimura


University of Montana


This quasi-experimental, exploratory study adds important empirical research to the relatively new field of individual-oriented relationship education. It describes the extent to which specific relationship beliefs and attitudes are held, and evaluates the impact of an undergraduate, semester-long Intimate and Family Relationships course on these beliefs. Utilizing data collected over two semesters at the University of Montana, this study compared 356 student responses at the beginning and end of the semester on three separate scales designed to quantify select measures of specific constraint beliefs and attitudes: Attitudes About Romance and Mate Selection (AARMS), the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ), and the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale-Short Form (IRMA-SF). Additionally, this study examined the mediating effects of several student background factors: parental divorce, gender, and parenting style on student responses to the educational experience. The researcher found significant results in the following areas: (a) gender differences with regards to the Love is Enough Cohabitation constraint beliefs, and rape myth acceptance; (b) differences on the Love is Enough constraint belief and rape myth acceptance between Adult Children of Divorce and non-Adult Children of Divorce; (c) differences between students who are in a relationship and those who are not, with regards to the One and Only constraint belief, and rape myth acceptance. The results are discussed in the context of exploring and understanding possible variables that may or may not impact relationship health, and may or may not be amendable to individually oriented relationship education. Limitations of the study, implications of the findings, and recommendations for future research are discussed.



© Copyright 2014 Sara Polanchek